Easy Mandarin Orange Cake (a.k.a. Pig Pickin Cake)

Mandarin orange cake is affectionately called pig pickin’ cake because it’s so good that it makes such pigs out of us! A Southern classic, it includes a tender yellow cake bursting with mandarin orange flavor and topped with a refreshing pineapple whipped frosting.

Taking A Bite Of Mandarin Orange Pig Picking Cake

This is a beloved Southern cake recipe you’ll find at family reunions, church picnics, potlucks, and warm weather get-togethers. Surprisingly easy to make, this cool cake has always been a hit wherever it goes!

We start with a tender yellow cake base, which is positively bursting with mandarin orange flavor. All we have to do is beat the cake batter ingredients together and bake our three cake layers. Oh yes, this is a multi-layered cake recipe! Once we cool our cake, we’re going to add layers of the most refreshing, light, and fluffy frosting imaginable. It’s a combination of whipped topping, vanilla pudding, and diced pineapple. 

This mandarin orange cake recipe is truly full of fruity flavor but isn’t too rich or dense. Basically, it’s the perfect summer cake recipe that you can store in your fridge. It also lives up to its Southern nickname, pig pickin’ cake. Just you wait – your guests won’t be able to keep their hands off this delicious cake!

Who’s ready to give this recipe a go? I promise it’s probably the easiest layered cake recipe out there!

Ingredients for Mandarin Orange Pig Pickin Cake

Recipe Ingredients


  • Yellow cake mix
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Eggs
  • Oil

Icing Ingredients for Mandarin Orange Pig Picking Cake


  • Frozen whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
  • Instant vanilla pudding mix
  • Crushed pineapple

How To Make Mandarin Orange Cake

cake ingredients, unmixed, in a glass bowl.

Combine all cake ingredients in a mixing bowl.

I usually beat the mess out of this with an electric mixer but if you wanna burn a few calories (to help justify eating the cake later), you can do it by hand.

Mix until well incorporated (about 2 minutes with an electric mixer or 4-5 minutes by hand).

cake batter in a mixing bowl.

Here we go, how easy was that?

divide batter evenly between 3 cake pans.

Divide the cake batter evenly among well-greased cake pans.

I’m using three round cake pans for these photos but I usually just make it in a single 9×13 for ease.

Y’all are worth the extra trouble, but don’t tell that to my family as they enjoy their 9×13 cakes!

baked cakes cooling on wire racks.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (depending on how many layers you have, thinner layers cook quicker) and allow the cakes to cool in the cake pan for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

If you are a low fuss, low muss person as I usually am, it will bake for about 30 minutes in a 9×13 pan and is just cooled in the pan.

Regardless of which pan you bake your cake in, it is done when it is golden brown all over the top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Icing one layer of cake.

Making the Pineapple Frosting

First, stir together the canned pineapple and juice with the instant pudding mix until well blended.

An electric mixer works best for this.

Then, add in whipped topping and gently beat on low speed until it is all incorporated together (about 1 minute or so).

Ice your cooled cake however you like to ice your cake.

This part is when I am happiest that I’ve made a 9×13! But again, y’all are worth the extra trouble!

Add icing between each layer of mandarin orange cake.

Pretty! Let’s keep going…

Finished Mandarin Orange Pig Picking Cake

Now, this mandarin cake needs to sit in the fridge, ideally, for two to three days before serving.

GASP. Yes, I’m serious. Of course, you can eat it now if you want but it will be WAY better after a couple of days.

Cutting into Mandarin Orange Pig Picking Cake

And then, enjoy!


  • This cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator. You will find that if you do not refrigerate it the cake will spoil. The frosting is made with whipped cream so you’ll need to cover it well and store it for 3 to 5 days.
  • Go right ahead and freeze your cake for up to 3-4 months as well. Just place it in the proper container and freeze. When you want a slice, remove it and allow it to quickly thaw on the counter for 30 minutes, or opt to thaw in the fridge overnight.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use a white cake mix?

In this recipe, I use a yellow cake mix, but you are more than welcome to reach for a white cake mix in replacement, or even a golden cake mix or angel food cake mix. It will alter the flavor a bit, but you will find overall it is going to give a similar flavor. In terms of the brand of cake mix, feel free to use any brand of cake mix you like, or buy what is on sale. I personally prefer Duncan Hines.

Can I make the mandarin orange cake in advance?

Yes, this mandarin orange cake actually tastes better when you make it 2 to 3 days ahead of time and let the flavors marry together in the fridge.

You may also like these other sensational cake recipes:

Cappuccino Cake With Cappuccino Buttercream Frosting

Cherry Crumb Cake With Cake Mix

S’mores Poke Cake

Vanilla Wafer Cake

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Chocolate Sundae Cake

Mandarin Orange Cake

Mandarin orange cake (pig pickin' cake) is a Southern classic: yellow cake with mandarin orange flavor topped with pineapple whipped frosting.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, orange
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 337kcal



  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, diced and undrained
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup oil


  • 1 3.4-ounce box instant vanilla pudding
  • 16 ounces whipped topping
  • 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained


  • Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour three round cake pans or grease one 9×13 baking dish. 
  • Place all cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well blended and fully combined (about two minutes). 
    1 box yellow cake mix, 1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, diced and undrained, 4 eggs, ½ cup oil
  • Pour into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (25-30 minutes, slightly less if you use three pans). If using round pans, allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely. If using 9×13, allow the cake to cool completely in the pan.
  • For the frosting, place the canned pineapple (with juice) and the pudding mix in a mixing bowl. Beat until just mixed. Add in whipped topping and beat on low speed for about one minute until blended in. Frost cake.
    1 3.4-ounce box instant vanilla pudding, 16 ounces whipped topping, 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • Cover well and refrigerate. Best if made 2 or 3 days ahead and refrigerated before serving.


Calories: 337kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


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  1. Any suggestions for a substitute for the pineapple? Maybe more mandarins? Or just half the milk normally used for the pudding? Sounds wonderful (except for that pineapple) so I can’t wait to try it. Thanks!

      1. hmmm…i grew up in the south an we called this Pig Lickin cake or Hummingbird cake…either way always good

  2. I wanted this cake last week but it was my birthday and I had a pretty big cake already. Also I knew my hubs didn’t like cream or fruit desserts. I decided I will wait to Easter so I went to make the cake on Good Friday. I was making it a two layer cake. As they were Cooling the dog literally got on the table and snatched one of the layers! I took the other layer and cut it in half and made a half double layer cake. I came back for a few hours later and enjoyed a slice. It is just not going to make it to SundaY. So I am back tonight to find another Easter dessert.

  3. The most awesome cake ever!! Made my first, though as a sheet cake, a few years ago as a new southern Mississippi gal originally from up North. Was surprised no one here or friends in North Carolina had ever heard of it. Thank you for reminding me to make one again soon!

  4. My version (well, actually my sister-in-law’s) just uses pineapple, not oranges. I LOVE a cold cake when the weather is hot here in South AL. Yes, we still have family reunions, but not every year the way my mother did. She based in in Sept. around my Granny’s birthday, so it was called the “birthday dinner.” We have started back, but only on 2-3 year intervals. We will be having our 3rd one on 4/27 at Chewacla State Park in Auburn.

  5. Christy I made this cake Sat. and my family LOVED it!! I have made many of your recipes over the years and they always turn out wonderful! Thank you so much for the wonderful recipes and commonsense approach to life and words of wisdom!


  6. Funny- I just read this after reading emails about an upcoming family reunion, which my part of the family is organizing for July 4. So I’ve made mental note to serve this! I’ve never heard of it, but I’m not from the South! So, our oldest attendee will be ninety one, and the youngest about 3, although the younger family members do seem to have lots of reasons to not attend! I think it’s so important for kids to realize what extended family is, and why our history is interesting. I’m lucky enough to have many fond memories of the folks who were the old folks when I was little. Now I am one of the older folks. The older ones of us consider it a priority, since we all live far apart now. We’ll have a three day event, and I’m sure I will find lots of recipes on this site. I will make sure to have deviled eggs with red stuff, too.

  7. I love this cake and you are right about letting sit for day or two before eating. It really does get better!
    Thank you for the “letter.” I miss getting good mail out of the mail box. It’s so hard to picture you staying in the RV and your husband making the campground rounds. Your posts are so positive and upbeat. I would have guessed you to be the socializer and your husband the more reserved one. Lol

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